Updated: November 27, 2023
There are many reasons to choose Cyprus as a place to retire in 2023. Sunny weather, the Mediterranean lifestyle, a safe environment, and a friendly atmosphere make Cyprus an excellent choice. In this guide, you will find all the information necessary for a life of retirement in Cyprus.
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On retiring, you can receive your state pension in a Cyprus bank account.
Your state pension will be paid wherever you live in the European Union (EU). For private schemes, you should discuss the matter with your pension provider.
You can get your state pension from the UK to Cyprus.
Private UK pension schemes
For UK private and personal pension schemes, get in touch with your pension provider for arrangements.
UK state pension
There are a few basic steps to follow to receive the UK state pension in Cyprus.
Inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You can claim a state pension abroad if you have paid enough UK National Insurance Contributions to qualify.
Then, the state pension can be paid into a bank in the country in which you are living. You need your IBAN and Bank Identification Code (BIC) numbers if you have an overseas account.
UK law also allows for workplace pensions to be paid abroad.
The local exchange rate will affect pensions (from pound sterling to local currency).
Cyprus has made several bilateral social security agreements with third countries, whereby benefits are paid from the social security scheme of one country to Cyprus.
For details, go to: https://www.mlsi.gov.cy/.
There are several tax benefits for pensioners and retirees in Cyprus.
Cyprus has signed double taxation agreements with 67 states, including the UK and the US.
See the complete list from the Ministry of Finance here: https://mof.gov.cy/en/taxation.
Foreign pension income is taxed at the flat rate of 5% on amounts over EUR 3,420. However, the taxpayer can choose to be taxed at the standard annual rate if this seems more favorable.
There are no inheritance or gift taxes in Cyprus. No succession tax exists: property can pass to the heirs without paying local tax.
A foreign pensioner will not have to pay the Cyprus special contribution for defense tax because foreign pension income is taxed at the flat rate of 5% (see above).
When you arrive in Cyprus, you will register with the Ministry of Finance's tax department to receive your tax identification number.
You are a tax resident of Cyprus if,
1) you are in Cyprus for more than 183 days in any calendar year; or,
2) you live in Cyprus for 60 days and are not a tax resident anywhere else.
For all the details on the 60-day rule, read our article Cyprus tax residency.
Suppose you are a tax resident of Cyprus. In that case, you will be taxed on your worldwide income (however, Cyprus has a favorable tax system, see above).
If you are a non-Cyprus tax resident, you will be taxed only on your income from Cyprus, if there is any.
Under the UK/ Cyprus double tax treaty, most pension income is taxable only in Cyprus. Also, pension lump sums are not taxed in Cyprus.
Once you return to the UK, you will be taxed on your UK income and gains and your foreign income (if that exceeds 2,000 pounds). If you are taxed twice, you should be able to claim tax relief.
The rules are complex; the UK government advises contacting HMRC or a professional tax adviser.
Voting when you retire to Cyprus depends on whether you are an EU national or a third-country national.
If you are an EU national, under the Maastricht Treaty, you can vote at national elections across the EU: https://europa.eu/youreurope/.
UK citizens can keep their UK vote for 15 years while living permanently abroad.
They cannot vote at national (Cyprus) elections after Brexit unless they get Cyprus citizenship.
The rule for Britons in Cyprus after Brexit is the same as with all third-country nationals. They cannot vote at local elections unless they get Cyprus citizenship.
If you are a third-country national living permanently in Cyprus, you may ask if you can still vote at elections in your own country and for how long. In such a case, inquire at one of your government ministries or departments.
Keeping your vote while living abroad is arranged by the law of your own country, not by the law of Cyprus.
Getting married in Cyprus is relatively easy. Retirement is often a new start, and marriage is good at any age, as Miss La Creevy from Nicholas Nickleby (by Charles Dickens) would tell you. Miss La Creevy makes a happy marriage late in life!
Cyprus is the perfect place for you to celebrate a wedding on the beach.
A civil wedding is available for all citizens, whether Cypriot, EU citizens or third-country nationals.
Marriage in Cyprus for UK citizens is recognized in the UK if:
Marriage also means a civil partnership.
The details on who can or cannot get married under UK law are here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/.
The above procedure satisfies the requirements for a marriage license.
The municipality will give you a date for the ceremony. The marriage will be performed within 15 clear days (earliest) or 3 months (latest).
The fee is EUR 128,15, but for a surcharge, the ceremony can take place at an earlier date.
The Marriage Officer will forward a certified copy of the marriage certificate to the couple’s embassy or embassies (or consulate).
The Marriage officer will give the couple one certified copy of the certificate; extra copies are issued at EUR 13,65 each.
Certificate of no impediment
The certificate of no impediment is a certificate showing that the two people are free to get married.
All the details on how to get such a certificate are here: https://www.moi.gov.cy/.
The Civil Registry and Migration Department only issues the certificate for Cypriot citizens and third-country nationals. Both applicants must be present at the department in Cyprus.
Following Brexit, British nationals can get such a certificate from the General Register Office in the UK. They will then have the certificate duly apostilled.
EU nationals can get the certificate from their countries, have it certified and translated into English or Greek and submit it to the Cypriot authorities using the same application form.
Getting married in a foreign religion in Cyprus
Marriage in a foreign religion can take place in Cyprus if it is performed by a minister of that religion who is registered formally with the Ministry of the interior. The Ministry keeps the information in a special register.
The couple must make the necessary arrangements with the minister and the church or temple of their faith/ denomination.
If you wish to book a venue for the wedding reception, schedules are tight, and the cost can be high, so you must plan early. This is especially so if you would like to have the entire wedding decoration and catering.
The wedding venue for civil ceremonies is usually the Town Hall’s wedding venue or other municipal venues.
For details on how to make a will in Cyprus, read our article
The execution of a will can be complex, as anyone who has read Bleak House (Charles Dickens) and Middlemarch (George Eliot) will tell you. If you own or plan to own any property in Cyprus, you are advised to make a will here.
In Cyprus, an individual is not free to leave his or her property in any way they like after death; a 75% part must go to immediate relatives. However, European Union law gives you a choice of law when you make your will.
Read more about Cyprus and European Union succession laws.
Cypriots, European Union citizens and third-country nationals can open a bank account in Cyprus.
The banking system of Cyprus is under the authority of the Cyprus Central Bank.
For all the details and formalities of opening a bank account in Cyprus, read our article How to open a bank account in Cyprus.
The bond between humans and animals has been famous since the Odyssey. Argos, Odysseus’s faithful dog, waits for him for twenty years. Only the faithful dog recognizes Odysseus upon return to Ithaca.
If you retire to Cyprus, you can bring your pet under the rules of the European Union and the Ministry of agriculture. Cyprus weather is good for animals, and vets and pet shops are everywhere. At the same time, your friend will enjoy the nature walks!
However, the maximum number of animals that can accompany you is five.
The animal must be at least 105 days old.
Pets not vaccinated against rabies (vaccination against rabies) cannot enter Cyprus. The animal must also be microchipped (see below for the acceptable microchip types).
To bring pets like birds, rabbits and aquatic fish to Cyprus, you must get an Export Health Certificate (EHC) which will be valid for 10 days only.
All the rules on the Cyprus EHC at the Ministry of Agriculture are here:
If you are a UK citizen, the rules for the UK EHC are here:
To bring a dog, cat or ferret to Cyprus, you will need the documents listed below.
To bring your dog, cat or ferret from the EU to Cyprus, you will need:
The pet passport follows the EU standard model.
To bring pets to Cyprus, you need an EU health certificate or a third-country passport. The third country must have agreed to follow EU Regulations. An official state vet must issue the certificate in your country. It is valid between EU countries for 4 months or until the rabies vaccination expires (europa.eu);
If the animal has gone from EU member states to a third country to Cyprus, you will need the EU pet passport mentioned above; and,
A document verifying that the animal has arrived in Cyprus from the third state mentioned in the health certificate, OR, from the third state to Cyprus but transiting through an EU member state.
Upon arrival, the pet is checked by a Veterinary officer or a Customs officer on duty.
Suppose the animal is from a third country. In that case, the owner/ person responsible must notify the District Veterinary Officer 48 hours before arrival.
Concerning pet transport, it is better to have the animal travel in the cabin. Airlines have different policies, so check with them.
The animal must be identified either by a tattoo (before 3 July 2011) or an electronic identification system (transponder microchip complying with ISO standard 11784, for full details, see moa.gov.cy).
While the health certificate is valid only for ten days, there is no such restriction for the EU passport.
“A pet passport is valid for life as long as your pet’s rabies vaccination is in date” (europa.eu).
Guide dogs and other assistance dogs can come in the aircraft cabin with you across the EU.
For animals belonging to endangered species, strict rules apply.
Suppose you travel by sea from a third country with your pet health certificate. In that case, the certificate will be extended to cover the sea voyage.
Certain species of dogs, such as the pit-bull terrier, are not allowed to enter.
The website of the Cyprus government animal health and welfare division is https://moa.gov.cy/sectors/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-health-and-welfare/?lang=en.
Driving in Cyprus follows the British model; the traffic is left-hand.
Generally, Cyprus has a good road network and public bus transport. It may be difficult, however, to get to the mountains or other remote areas unless you have your car. Bus routes do not go there or are infrequent.
Traffic signs conform to EU standards, and speed limits are in kilometers per hour.
Motorcycle and moped drivers, as well as cyclists, must wear crash helmets.
Drink driving is a road traffic offense. The maximum allowed breath alcohol concentration (blood alcohol content, BAC) is 0.22. The level of 22-35 is an offense. For the levels, see https://www.roadsafetycyprus.gov.cy/.
For EU nationals
According to Your Europe (europa.eu), EU nationals moving to another union country do not have to exchange their driving license for a local one.
Voluntary exchange of driving license
To voluntarily exchange your driving license, you must be a resident of Cyprus and meet the conditions for having a driving license in Cyprus. This is called a “voluntary exchange” of a driving license.
For the details, see below. The procedure is the same for EU nationals and third-country nationals.
Obligatory exchange of driving license
You must exchange your driving license if:
For third-country nationals
If they wish to exchange their driving license, third-country nationals must make sure that:
Cyprus has a reciprocal agreement with their country; and,
They have been living on the island for six months.
Cyprus recognizes driving licenses issued by Australia, Canada, Georgia, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea., Switzerland, UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA, and Zimbabwe.
Ask your embassy if you do not see your country on this list. You may need to get a Cyprus driver’s license (go through the lessons, practice and examination).
How to have your driving license recognized in Cyprus
The rules are the same for EU nationals and nationals of the countries listed above.
To have your driver’s license recognized in Cyprus, you need:
The application and all relevant documents must go to the District Office Driving Examiners. See the contact details here: https://www.mcw.gov.cy/.
If you are over 70 years of age, you will need a certificate of physical ability to drive.
You do not have to pay any tax to bring your car from the EU or the UK to Cyprus (“zero import duty”). You may have to pay import tax to bring your vehicle from a third country. There is some complex paperwork, but here we guide you step-by-step. This section contains all the information you need to import and register a car.
To prove the EU status (EU origin) of a vehicle, you need to show:
A T2L or T2LF document; or the vehicle's number plates and original registration document(s).
Then you should fill in the application form for the verification of the customs status of union goods. You hand in the form and other documents to the customs and excise department. The form is available at mog.gov.cy.
After the car is cleared, you should present to any district customs office the original registration certificate of the vehicle. You should do this within 10 working days.
For used passenger cars, hand to the Department of Road Transport the form TOM 119 BA, which verifies specific facts concerning carbon emissions.
You will pay VAT for a new car unless,
1) VAT was paid in your member state, and
2) you are transferring his/her usual residence from that member state to Cyprus. Bring the invoice indicating VAT with you.
If necessary, the car will be temporarily admitted for 1 month. If this happens, you must hand in the “Official Declaration” form to any customs office.
The form is available at: https://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/.
Together, you file some documents, such as your passport and the car’s registration certificate (complete list in the form).
To register your car in Cyprus, you must file certain documents with the road transport Department. The list is here: https://www.mcw.gov.cy/.
This is a necessary procedure. After the car is cleared, it must be registered.
There is no import duty to bring your car from the UK to Cyprus, but VAT is payable.
The rules for bringing a car from third countries apply (see below).
Check the UK government’s general instructions for taking a vehicle abroad for 12 months or more (permanent export) at: https://www.gov.uk/taking-vehicles-out-of-uk.
There is a UK government “personal export scheme” which allows you to buy a car in the UK free of VAT for export outside the UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/.
You can use the car in the UK for a limited time only.
To bring your car from a third country to Cyprus, you should:
You apply for relief to the Customs office, Form Απ. 2.
If you get a positive answer (yes, relief from tax), you submit form C 1040 with your single declaration document (SAD).
You will need to pay import duties and VAT if you get a negative answer. If you do not, you will not be able to bring your car to the Republic.
To get health care in Cyprus, you need to register with the Cyprus General Health System (GHS, Γεσυ).
You can register with the GHS and receive the health care you will need for free or at a low cost if you have, 1) employment in the Republic, or, 2) permanent residence, or 3) you are insured in another EU member state.
If you are an EU or third-country national, you will also need to get the European Health Insurance card (EHIC). The application form is here: https://www.moh.gov.cy/moh/.
Explanation from Your Europe on the working of the card is here:
To buy real estate in Cyprus, an EU citizen will need the same formalities as a Cyprus citizen.
There are no restrictions on buying real estate for EU citizens. You are recommended to contact a local lawyer and a real estate agent. They will find the most suitable property, prepare your contract, and do the paperwork and filing.
Third-country nationals must apply to the Council of Ministers for permission to buy real estate in Cyprus.
The application form is Form Comm. 145, available at: https://www.moi.gov.cy/moi/.
For all the details and expert advice, look at our office’s publication Real estate law in Cyprus.
Cyprus has no retirement visa, but you can apply for other types of permits:
The Category F permanent residence permit is popular with pensioners or retirees. It is granted to applicants with a secured annual income who do not need to work. The applicant's spouse and children can join under the Category F permit.
The pink slip or “freelance visa” is granted to applicants with a secured income and, therefore, no need to work. The applicant’s spouse and children can apply for a residence permit to join the applicant. The pink slip is valid for one year and can be renewed for up to five.
You can apply for permanent residency by investing at least EUR 300,000 in real (immovable) property or shares and having an annual income of EUR 30,000. The amount is increased by EUR 5,000 for every dependent member.
A European Union citizen can stay without restrictions in Cyprus. However, they must register with the migration authorities within four months of moving to Cyprus.
Then they will receive the registration certificate for Union citizens.
Retiring to Cyprus after Brexit remains a good idea in 2023.
There are several benefits, such as the affordability of life (for example, buying a house in Cyprus is about 65% cheaper than in the UK), having an established ex-pat British community, and the availability of amenities like cheap fresh food, mild weather and access to the sea.
Brexit means that you are considered a third-country national. You should apply for a residence permit (see the section above).
As a third-country national, you will no longer be allowed to vote in local elections.
You can still receive your pension in Cyprus. Certain benefits, like bereavement, will continue to be paid. UK law allows for workplace pensions to be paid overseas.
If you have a residence permit, you can register with the General Health System and receive health care after Brexit (see above). The UK government has replaced the European health insurance card (EHIC) with the UK Global health insurance card (GHIC).
Read details and find the link to apply through the NHS at: https://www.gov.uk/global-health-insurance-card.
However, you might want to get a Cypriot EHIC if you live in Cyprus permanently or for long periods.
According to leading charity organization Age UK (ageuk.org.uk), retirement can be a happy time. Still, preparing financially or planning where you will live is not enough. You must arrange what you will do with your extra time.
In Cyprus, you can be busy throughout the year, carry on with your favorite hobbies or begin new ones. Nature and the sea are always close by if you are into exercise, walking or swimming. Women’s organizations offer housekeeping classes and do amazing events throughout the year; there are regular football and other sports events for the men.
Contact your municipality for details on women’s and other organizations and also for more information on gyms, dance schools, yoga and art classes, learning languages and all sorts of recreation clubs.
Whatever the question concerning your retirement to Cyprus, our firm can help you with consultation and expert advice. We will be happy to handle any matter concerning your property, permits and any other issue you might need help with on your retirement.
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